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Top 7 Innovative Inventions of 2016

Top 7 Innovative Inventions of 2016

In 2015, I published a viral piece for the Inquisitr about the most underrated inventions of the 2010s, so far. Last year, we had the DNA testing app, which shocked the world of medicine. Also, the condoms that change colors whenever it encountered STD antigens was another underrated, yet genius invention.

Due to an eye-watering amount of inventions were introduced to the world this year, I figured it would only be right to expose you to more inventions. The following inventions not only sold units like hotcakes, they also made some sort of impact in the industry they dominate in. Below are seven of the top innovative inventions of 2016.

Ready?

7. The Levitating Lightbulb

flyte-lightbulb
    Credit: FLYTE

    On TIME’s 25 Best Inventions of 2016, this product topped their list. It’s called Flyte and it is a lightbulb relying solely on electromagnetism technology to levitate and spin around. This bulb design came from the same man who invented the first levitating skateboard: Simon Morris. However, the board never managed came off the ground.

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    Inspired by the likes of Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, Morris says that Flyte has sold tremendously well since its release in January. A different line of ecosystem products is expected to be released in June of 2017.

    6. The Folding Bike Helmet

    morpher-folding-helmet
      Credit: Latest Gadgets UK

      With the helmet costing a little over $100, this folding helmet is the ultimate gift for any cyclist. Jeff Woolf, the inventor of Morpher, came up with this idea following a tragic accident that nearly took his life.

      One day, however, Woolf came up with the idea to create a bike helmet that can fit into any backpack. Utilizing Indiegogo, the Morpher concept was able to rack up over $300,000 in donations from the internet. The Morpher is expected to continue pushing units in the US and Europe.

      5. The StreetSaw Hoverboard

      streetsaw-hoverboard
        Credit: StreetSaw

        Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, StreetSaw’s self-balancing electric scooters are one of the greatest hoverboards ever invented. Its founder, Daniel Moravec, unveiled the first StreetSaw hoverboard at the Consumer Electronics Show, thus changing the personal transportation industry.

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        With millions of hoverboards sold, according to Roger Martin, a customer service representative at StreetSaw, more varieties and models are expected to be released in the future.

        4. PlayStation VR

        sony-playstation-vr
          Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment

          In 2016, Sony decided to step its game up with a virtual reality headset. PlayStation VR, a great, powerful headset, is the next-generation of gaming. This VR product works with any existing PlayStation 4 console, increasing the intensity of your entertainment experience.

          It costs a couple hundred bucks, but it serves as one of the easiest ways to experience what all video games will look like in the future. According to VG247, although Sony showed up to the virtual reality industry late, it has already dominated all its competition, including HTC and Samsung.

          3. China’s Heavenly Space Station

          china-space-station-docking
            Credit: China Manned Space Engineering Office

            This invention is out of this world. Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong, two Chinese astronauts, arrived in orbit with an orbital laboratory bigger than the International Space Station (ISS). The space station, Tiangong-2 (Heavenly Palace 2), was created with a wide exercise area and a medical experiment bay, TIME reported.

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            What is China’s next big move? Well, the Chinese government plans to launch an even bigger space station by 2018. It’s expected to be “comfier” than the ISS.

            2. “Real Life” Barbies

            real-life-barbies-mattel-toy-industry
              Credit: Mattel

              For the first time in nearly 57 years, Mattel, the creator of Barbies, gave the dolls a major facelift. Due to decreased sales, Mattel did something no one saw coming: they changed the appearance of their dolls into real-life human beings.

              Barbie dolls now come in different hair colors, styles, ethnic backgrounds, and shapes. Gone are the unrealistic, generic body figures that influenced young girls to follow. In 2016, the large move was marked as one of the biggest of all-time in the toy industry.

              1. The Speaker That Talks Back

              amazon-echo-speaker
                Credit: GeekLife

                Amazon has revolutionized the tech industry in countless ways. The Amazon Echo, a standard Bluetooth speaker, is one of their greatest inventions and best-selling products of 2016. Unlike Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana, this speaker, using Alexa’s functionality, can use different apps, wake you up in the morning, call an Uber for you, turn off the lights in your home, and even order pizza.

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                It’s an extremely powerful speaker that can be purchased on Amazon for only $59, with the better models ranging from $99 and up. So now you know. Seeking your own personal assistant? Look no further, Alexa is here to help you anytime of the day.

                Bottom line: 2016 brought some amazing inventions that stunned the tech world. However, as we move forward, let’s see what 2017 will bring. Maybe a flying car? I’m crossing my fingers!

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                Jose Florez

                Mental Health Writer

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                Last Updated on January 6, 2021

                14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

                In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

                For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

                For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

                Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

                Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

                Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

                How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

                Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

                1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

                Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

                For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

                2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

                Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

                Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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                Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

                3. Create a System

                Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

                This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

                You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

                Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

                Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

                4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

                We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

                If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

                Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

                Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

                5. Use a Ratings Scale

                Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

                Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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                It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

                6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

                This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

                You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

                You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

                7. Offer Feedback Forms

                Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

                First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

                Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

                You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                8. Track Cost Effectiveness

                This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

                Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

                Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

                9. Use Self-Evaluations

                Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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                Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

                10. Monitor Time Management

                This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

                Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

                  The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

                  While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                  11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

                  We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

                  Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

                  For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

                  Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

                  Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

                  From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

                  12. Utilize Peer Feedback

                  This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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                  Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

                  Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

                  It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

                  13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

                  When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

                  Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

                  Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

                  14. Use an External Evaluator

                  Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

                  They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

                  While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

                  Final Thoughts

                  These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

                  The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

                  The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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                  Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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